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In a parliamentary vote to be held on Monday on our relationship with our European Union partners, most Tory members would prefer to abstain, even though many would prefer complete or partial withdrawal.

One backbench Tory MP said of the parliamentary vote:

Most members would prefer to abstain but the government has put us over a barrel. We’d prefer not to be whipped, obviously, but as Tories whipping is something we’re used to.

Nick Clegg who has admitted he has had close relationships with more than 30 nationalities in the EU, said:

My wife is Spanish so I know something about this subject. Generally I don’t like the idea of pulling out. I prefer to stay in at all costs, and would never even think about a partial withdrawal. In my opinion, if we decide to withdraw we will end up wanting very quickly to go right back in again.

The Liberal Democrat, Mike Hancock announced his intention to continue to push for closer relations with people outside the EU, particularly Russians:

For the last 4 years I’ve tried very hard to foster a good relationship with all kinds of Russians – but especially the young pretty ones. We shouldn’t forget that being a member, big or small, doesn’t exclude us from close contact with nationalities outside the EU too. In my opinion, the more international partners we have, the better.